Justice Foreclosed: How Wall Street's Appetite for Subprime Mortgages Ended Up Hurting Black and Latino Communities

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October 15, 2012

The economic crisis of 2008, which was devastating for the nation’s economy as a whole, was nothing short of disastrous for communities of color. The decades of progress toward full inclusion in the American dream that the civil rights laws of the 1960s enabled disappeared virtually overnight, stripping communities of color of their homes and their financial futures.

Since the housing bubble burst, at least 3.5 million households have lost their homes to foreclosures. The crisis is clearly an economic issue, and one that continues to grip the nation. But it is also a civil rights issue: Latino and black home owners, and in fact entire Latino and black neighborhoods, bore the brunt of the foreclosure crisis, and continue to suffer disproportionately from its effects. Victimizing people of color this way also ended up undermining the economic security of all families and the stability of all communities across the country.  

The fallout from discriminatory and predatory lending has deepened inequality throughout our country and it continues to hold us back as a nation. The chance to own a home we can afford, under fair terms, is a fundamental part of the American Dream. Rebuilding that dream is in our national interest, and crucial to our economic recovery. That process of recovery begins with recognizing and addressing the root causes of the crisis, including the role that racial discrimination played in accelerating and exacerbating the catastrophe.  

In this report, Justice Foreclosed, we look at how Wall Street’s demand for loans encouraged predatory lending in communities of color; how that in turn fueled the housing crisis, and how the bust will continue to affect these communities for years, if not generations, to come.

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